From West Sonoma Coast to Greece, Valpolicella, and Vienna in a day…

When I finally got home to sit down to dinner with Tracie last night around half past eight, it felt like I had traveled around the (wine) world and back.

In the afternoon, I attended a superb guided tasting of 12 jaw-dropping wines from the West Sonoma Coast Vintners association.

The brightest and the best of Houston’s wine scene were all seated at the standing-room-only event.

And the speakers, each of them leading winemakers from this aspiring American appellation (they are currently petitioning for the creation of their own designation), delivered a fantastic overview of the would-be AVA’s sub-zones, macro-climates, soil types, and winemaking styles. It was followed by a walk-around tasting of labels from eight different wineries, including 40+ wines.

Wow, what a great event! And it was amazing to finally hear Ted Lemon of Littorai speak. His wines are as compelling as the thoughtfulness and brilliance that go into his winemaking.

Gros Ventre (above) was a highlight for me as well. Great wines and great to chat with winemaker and grower Chris Pittenger.

I was wholly impressed by the caliber of the event and the tenor of the conversation and tasting.

Thank you for coming to Texas, West Sonoma Coast Vintners!

By late afternoon, I was seated with one of the coolest people in the Italian wine world today, Tony Apostolakos, U.S. sales director for Masi in Valpolicella.

We had sat down together to taste through a flight of Masi’s current releases.

But that wasn’t going to happen before we enjoyed a glass of Assyrtiko and Moschofilero at Helen, Houston’s celebrated Greek-modern restaurant where wine director Evan Turner runs one of the top two Greek wine programs in the country (the other imho is Molyvos in New York).

I really love the breadth and range of Masi’s wines but it was the 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Campolongo di Torbe (above) that really sang to me. What a fantastic wine and what a great tasting — each one of these bottles a gem.

Thanks, Tony, for coming back to Houston!

By the time I swung by one of my favorite wine shops, Vinology around the corner from Helen, to pick up a bottle of 2016 Zahel Orangetraube Orange T from Vienna on my way home, it just felt like I had been around the globe — from the edge of the western wine world to its heart and back… all in a workaday’s dawn-to-dark in my city on the bayou.

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